A garbage disposal is one of those kitchen conveniences that once you start using it– you wonder how you ever did without. Dishes that you had to scrape off into a trash receptacle can now be simply rinsed in the sink and with one flick of a switch — all of that leftover food is gone in a flash. The device is even handier when peeling vegetables and fruit — no more trying to gather up the slippery peels — they can all go right down the drain.

If your older Bay Area home doesn’t already have a garbage disposal, adding one might be easier than you think. You already have the drain lines under the sink, so all you need is a power source and a plumbing contractor. If you have a dishwasher, there’s a good chance there’s an electrical outlet in the rear of your sink base cabinet that can also be used for a disposal, but if you don’t have an outlet, you may have to call in an electrician as well.

A plumber can usually install a garbage disposal by connecting it to your existing sink and drain lines — in most cases the whole job can be done in just a few hours. And if you already have an older garbage disposal, you might want to consider upgrading to a more modern model. Newer disposals are often much more quiet, have more power, and do a better job of chopping up your kitchen garbage.